Commemorating the Tuskegee Airmen

Where: Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site (Tuskegee, AL)

Who: The Whole Clan

When: February 15, 2014

We struck out in our effort to visit the George Washington Carver Museum during our recent trip to Tuskegee, but an unexpected ceremony at the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site helped to make up for it.

It turned out that our visit to Moton Airfield, where the Tuskegee Airmen trained, coincided with the grand reopening of Hangar Two after eight years (!) of renovations.

The new exhibits in the hangar include life-sized planes, several displays describing the Airmen’s achievements (such as flying more than 1,500 combat missions), and recorded interviews with surviving members of the unit.

New exhibits in Hangar Two

New exhibits in Hangar Two

We had no idea that the reopening would be the day we visited. The area was very crowded, and Hangar Two was closed to the general public when we first arrived because there was a special function taking place inside for the unit’s members and their families. We weren’t disappointed, though, because there was plenty to do over in Hangar One. We saw several full-sized planes there as well as well as recreations of the rooms where pilots were taught and where they waited for their planes to be cleared for action before training runs.

I found the manuals showing profiles of enemy airplanes and ships particularly interesting. A pilot had to be able to distinguish friend from foe in a fraction of a second in order to know whether to engage or not.

Because of the special event that day, volunteers were giving away model planes to the kids and even helping to put them together. Sons #1-4 each got a plane and worked diligently with help from friendly strangers to put it together.

Son #4 admires his completed model airplane in Hangar One

Son #4 admires his completed model airplane in Hangar One

I suppose that now I need to get around to seeing the recent Hollywood film about the Tuskegee Airmen. I also located an online article about the event we stumbled on if you would like some more details about it.

One more thing: this site, just like The Oaks, is absolutely free to visit. Our only expenses for this day trip to Tuskegee that let us take in two great historic sites were a morning of our time and some gas money.

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